Thinking Anglicans

Anglican Church Bans Polygamy

Anglican Church Bans Polygamy is the headline of a news article at PM News by Kazeem Ugbodaga:

The Anglican Communion in Nigeria has banned polygamy among members of the church.

The ban was handed down by the Archbishop and Primate of the Church, Most Reverend Peter Akinola.

Worried by the proliferation of marriages in the church among polygamous members, Akinola wrote to all Anglican Communions in the country to desist from such practice, which he described as unscriptural.

According to him, the integrity of the Christian faith is far more important than the reputation of those who turn their backs on the word of God.

“Those of us who are in the forefront of the prophetic call for a return to Biblical truth, cannot close our eyes to the increasingly blatant disregard for the teaching of the Bible on family life.

“The observation will destroy our witness if not firmly addressed. We cannot claim to be a Bible-believing church and yet be selective in our obedience,” he added.

Akinola stated emphatically that whosoever is involved in polygamous marriage, no matter how highly placed, must come under authority of the Bible.

He warned that any attempt to trivialise the Bible’s teaching on monogamy as the ultimate standard for the Christian family “will make a mockery of whatever else we stand for.

“Sadly, sometimes, even our leadership has looked the other way on this matter.”

The Anglican Communion Nigeria, during the crisis on whether to ordain gays (homosexuals) as preachers in the Anglican Communion overseas, stood against it…

Update Saturday

The BBC has a report on this, Warning for Christian polygamists.

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Justin Lewis-Anthony
13 years ago

Unscriptural! I am afraid that that is the last thing polygamy is!

John B. Chilton
13 years ago
Simon Sarmiento
13 years ago

John Yes it is, but our reports at that time focused on the GAFCON items rather than this. http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/2008_04.html The actual Communique, from the meeting of 26-29 March said this: http://www.anglican-nig.org/Nnewi2008Communique.pdf BIBLICAL MORALITY 15.For the past five years the Church of Nigeria has become known around the world as a champion for Biblical Sexual Morality. We recognize that we cannot simply ask others to conform to biblical norms if we ourselves are unwilling to look inward especially on the issue of the sanctity of marriage. At this meeting we took time to reflect upon the issue of polygamy, a practice… Read more »

Pluralist
13 years ago

As a result of this, will the Nigerians be issuing a lower membership number, as polygamous families go and find a Church that combines Christianity and local custom?

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
13 years ago

Gee, isn’t that nice, just in time for Lambeth, excuse, GAFCON.

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
13 years ago

A very “English” English communique in terms of construction and syntax, Simon. Wonder who might have written it.

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

Polygamy unscriptural? Behold, the triumph of BIBLIOLATRY over, y’know, actually *reading* da Good Book.

But then again, these are our Nigerian betters speaking, so what do I know?

dodgy vicar
dodgy vicar
13 years ago

I suppose that the Archbishop is trying to be systematic in his thinking. I can imagine him rolling out the RC argument ‘homosexual acts are contrary to nature as they can not lead to procreation, so they must be condemned’ and following it with the logical and systematic thought ‘contraception is contrary to nature because it prevents procreation’ … thereby condemning many people in sub-saharan africa to die of sexually transmitted disease… but allowing him to feel virtuous and systematic in his theology. Theology is a messy business which can not always be systematized. I don’t know which Bible he… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

This ” ban ” is mere window dressing before GAFCON…anyway polygamy has the blesssing of Lambeth 1988. The polygamists only have to pretend they are recent converts, to continue in their unions.

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

“We recognize that we cannot simply ask others to conform to biblical norms if we ourselves are unwilling to look inward especially on the issue of the sanctity of marriage. At this meeting we took time to reflect upon the issue of polygamy, a practice that is still present in Nigerian culture.” The Texas Fundamentalist Mormons case is up and someone spills the beans on AB Abuja ;=) Hypocrisy is hypocrisy. W h o might it has been? An American auxiliary? Lets remember that the stand up til now of AB Abuja and his American followers has been that Polygamy… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Perhaps the Nigerian bishop is seeking to read with scripture and so the “intention” of scripture.

If you just read what is there you will have Cain killing Abel on the first few pages. Is that normative as direction for human conduct? Does it reflect human reality or God’s intention with humanity? In the same way with marriage, there is much that reflects human culture and blindness, do we merely take what is there or read it for God’s intention? Jesus seemed to think it makes a difference (Matt 19:3-9).

Ben W

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“‘homosexual acts are contrary to nature as they can not lead to procreation, so they must be condemned’ “ You know, the more I think about it, the more I realize that all societies consider the procreative act to be special, and not for obvious reasons! It is a sharing in God’s creativity. Non-procreative sex is something other. Whether to be condemned or not is an entirely different question, of course, whether inferior or not is also another question, but definitely different. The funny thing is that this idea is quite pagan. The life producing power of heterosexuality has always… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

Rather than trying to make this dated and erroneous book fit either side of the argument, you may instead consider that its use is minimal.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

Lambeth 1867 condemned polgamy amongst african converts..1988 overturned it.

The Church in Nigeria will just be hiding this abberation, unil after GAFCON.

Meanwhile divorce and re-marriage are allowed, and contraception is not even an issue.

Women can’t even be lay readers…they know their place.

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

Frankly, Ben W, I can think of few things more frightening in all the universe, than the Nigerian (arch)bishop’s take on the “intention” of scripture.

counterlight
13 years ago

“Does it reflect human reality or God’s intention with humanity? In the same way with marriage, there is much that reflects human culture and blindness, do we merely take what is there or read it for God’s intention?” Curious, People have been saying the exact same thing over the gay issue. Could the famous “clobber verses” possibly reflect mores of the late Bronze Age rather than durable verities (such as the innumerable condemnations of hypocrisy, and equally innumerable exhortations to compassion, even to the emptying out of self)? And after more than 30 years of this issue being fought over… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
13 years ago

Which is the greater sin? To keep multiple wives, or to divorce a multiple number of times?

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

MM,

Interesting – you say about the Bible: “consider that its use is minimal.” At least we know where you are coming from.

I think you have just nicely answered Ford’s accusatory question earlier about whether I think people just “make it up” as they go along.

Ben W

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

counterlight,

I suppose you consider what Jesus had to say about marriage simply passe (of the “bronze age” to be put down)! If they are verses of scripture you don’t like they can simply be dismissed as somebody’s “clobber verses” (who is reading with care and in context?). I think that is counter to the light!

Ben W

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

JCF,

Why am I not surprised? The issue is marriage, earlier people were criticizing the Africans because they allow polygamy, now they speak up and of course this is criticized!

On intention, do you think Jesus was also out of line in making reference to God’s intention? Or does it matter to you?

Ben W

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

RIW,

It would be helpful, for people who gave themselves trying to meet the challenges of their day, to keep some fairness and humanity in conversation about them. The denigration goes on. . .

Ben W

Ken Kuhl
Ken Kuhl
13 years ago

What disturbs me most about this story is how the extra wives are abandoned without support with their children automatically given into the father’s custody.

It reminds me of how native “country wives” were abandoned by white fur traders when the missionaries arrived with Governor George Sinclair of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The new governing establishment refused to recognize customary marriages which preceded the frontier Church of England in Canada, because they hadn’t been consecrated in a church. This resulted in great misery for the abandoned country wives.

Ken Kuhl
London, ON

Ren Aguila
Ren Aguila
13 years ago

“And after more than 30 years of this issue being fought over in the Church in one way or another, I’m still mystified why this issue and not others (lay presidency at Eucharist for example) is a church-breaker.” – counterlight Yes, I’m wondering about lay presidency at the Eucharist. It’s closely tied, in the Sydney case, with the ordination of women. And I suspect that there is more than a hint of memorialism in that idea. Of course, Sydney won’t admit it, but lay presidency is far more church-dividing, for it smacks, as a friend of mine and I agreed… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

What about the establishment of a charity,

“One Man, One Woman”..dedicated to fighting Nigerian polygamy in all Christain denominations and aiding Nigerian women to gain some platform within their Churches.

Then we could have a Conference in Jerusalem next year…..

Lapinbizarre
Lapinbizarre
13 years ago

Ben W, for some reason what Jesus said about marriage- and we both know that he held strong opinions on the subject – is something the majority of “Scripture First-ers” unblushingly jettison for the sake of convenience – frequently their own – while, as has often been noted here before, holding rigidly to a “scriptural” view of homosexuality, about which He said nothing whatever.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ben
do you really think that citing Merseymike, who has left the Anglican Church and no longer identifies with Christianity, proves your point against Ford?

Please, do engage properly. Setting up a strawman and then knocking him down just shows that you have no real answer to what Ford has said.

It would be more helpful if you engaged with the actual points Ford made, including commenting on the quotes of yours he cited, and which still need to be explained with regard to his question.

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Erika, First, it was not clear to me that MM had left. Second, the fact that he has left may be telling, in a setting where “much of this making it up” as you go goes on a person can lose direction and purpose. I gave specific examples of making it up, what more do you need? I try to answer main points, but where I have already (perhaps earlier done so) I go to what I think still needs to be addressed. Did you think about main points I have raised here that are simply or largely passed by?… Read more »

counterlight
13 years ago

Ben W Since you do not understand my moniker, or its origins, I suspect your interpretations of the clear meaning of Scripture may be suspect as well. Oliver Cromwell certainly took the Bible very seriously when he found the answer to the problem of Ireland’s Catholics in 1st Samuel 15: 1-4. Remember how he applied that plain and clear instruction from God’s Holy Word at Drogheda and Cashel? In my own childhood experience, the story of Ham from Genesis was quoted at me repeatedly by good Bible believing Christians (a lot of them) to justify racial segregation. They had a… Read more »

counterlight
13 years ago

I’ve asked the question about why the gay issue above all others is THE church breaking issue for a long time, and I have yet to get any answer. I’m beginning to suspect that it’s not an issue so much as a pretext.

As for there being no sanction in Scripture for polygamy, do you think Jacob should keep Rachel and dump Leah?
Imagine all the alimony and child support that King David will have to pay now!

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Lapinbizarre, At least you see that Jesus emphasized the character of marriage in the light of God “creating them male and female in the beginning.” If this order of male and female points to God’s intention for the sexual relationship that says all that needs to be said. Just as when you send your child to to the store to get some sugar and some apples, you do not need to say don’t get corn chips or all the other items in the store (to be clear – Jesus said no more about homosexuality than he did about polygamy). Who… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
13 years ago

“Jesus seemed to think it makes a difference (Matt 19:3-9)”

Jesus was referring back to Genesis 2.24 which comes immediately after the verse where the man’s rib is removed and fashioned into the woman. What are we to make of that, in the light of scientific discoveries which disprove this actually happened?

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

Ben W, I *never* criticized the Nigerian Church for condemning polygamy: I honestly don’t know where you got that one. (timing, context and stated rationale for said condemnation is another matter)

“On intention, do you think Jesus was also out of line in making reference to God’s intention? Or does it matter to you?”

If I have to point out the obvious—that Peter Akinola (nor you, nor I) is NOT Jesus—I really don’t the patience to continue this conversation.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ben to cite one single person as an example for making it up is not proving your point that most liberals are making it up as they go along, even if you don’t know that that one person no longer identifies as Christian. And even that one person isn’t making anything up but has come to a different interpretation. That’s allowed, you know. The big difference is that what you call “making it up” is what many of us call “interpreting”. It would be really helpful if you could not only acknowledge it but even see it as a valid… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Ben W interpreted Genesis 1:27 “If this order of male and female points to God’s intention for the sexual relationship that says all that needs to be said.” If this interpretation of Genesis 1:27 “says all that needs to be said” it is strange indeed that it cannot be found before 1978 – and in California at that. A book by one Don Williams: The Bond That Breaks: Will Homosexuality Split the Church? It’s on Amazon but it seems few have read it. But see: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Journal/stories.aspx?id=75917 I have always found Matt 19:4 quoting of Genesis 1:27 (in the context of… Read more »

George Conger
George Conger
13 years ago

I do feel sorry for the kooks and conspiracy mongers out there who see every bit of news out of Nigeria as confirmation of their paranoid fantasies. Alas, there is no new letter on polygamy from the Church of Nigeria or Archbishop Akinola. There is no new policy being offered here. The original documents from which the Nigerian newspaper took its story … and the BBC did a follow my leader story–and its “analyst” from Abuja showed himself to be au courant with the latest conventional wisdom in London–but not the news in Nigeria … can be found at: http://www.anglican-nig.org/Nnewi2008PASTORALletter.pdf… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Erika, Have you thought your position through? It would mean that no could ever really be wrong, there are just different “interpretations.” The ideology of Hitler is as valid as the theology of D Bonhoeffer. And you talk about engaging properly! I have already referred to a number of people that are out there who tell you they reject much of the Christian faith (not just another “interpretation”), and I could list many more for you if there were a point to that, but you come up with something about “that one person” after all that has alredy been listed!… Read more »

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

counterlight, One more eveidence that mere assumption controls interpretation. The play I made on your name in making the point earlier had absolutely nothing to do with how your “moniker” originated or what you make of it, I simply used to say what I wanted to say. That is allowed. Your reference to Ham etc has to be read precisely in larger context, in terms of what I have been saying about reading for “intention.” I could give you many examples of the kind of misuse of scripture you talk about myself. One would be a woman alienated from the… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Ben W asked: “Is there a possibility we can advance in this conversation?”

It belongs in the gutter.

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ben Yes, I have thought my position through. To equate Hitler, who was directly responsible for the death of millions, with a Christian martyr is silly. I’m not talking of being a criminal or not! I’m talking of self identifying as a Christian but having beliefs that are not like many other Christians. You have talked about people who YOU BELIEVE reject much of the Christian faith. They don’t think they do, they think they interpret differently. It is not up to you to judge them. All you can do is accept their sincerity while believing they are wrong. That… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

Everyone should go to Virtue on line and watch a video of David Virtue addressing conservatives in Wisconsin. It was filmed in March and he says ” Polygamy is a myth “…he knows better than Akinola! He talks about the centrality of sexuality to the crisis and yet never mentions divorce. Probablly most of his audience are divorced and their children too. As Doctor Toon ( American prayer Book society )says , American conservatives have not rejected the liberal revison of heterosexualmorality…contraception and divorce. He mentions that there are over 100 common cause (outside the Anglican Communion ) bishops…presumably they… Read more »

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

Ben: Genesis is a story. A fantasy. It never happened. Its just a pictorial representation of premodern ideas about the world. Its utterly irrelevant.

The problem liberal Christians have is that they are stuck with this faintly ridiculous book, most of which is best used as lining for the cat litter tray. Until they can actually be honest enough to say what I have come to realise – that Christianity itself is actually the problem and that it needs wholesale revision – then I would expect convoluted conversation to continue.

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Erika, Of course I was not equating Hitler with Bonhoeffer! You call for understanding and then you do this? The point simply is that there is a lot of ideology out there, of people coming up with things to serve their own ends apart from real interpretation. Because conversation seems blocked I am not going on with this, only to say I accept that some on this list sincerely believe what they hold and I have expressed agreement in part at times (even when I disagree with some things they hold). In one way the point I’m trying to make… Read more »

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

Afraid that I, too, as a believer or follower of Jesus of Nazareth stand – intentionally and with every ounce of educated discernment into which I have painstakingly lived as a modern global citizen – outside BW’s basic stance. So far the BW stance comes across as a conservative realignment stance. Being welcome in our global believer conservations means, for Anglicans, being consistently subject to best practices tool kit scrutiny and investigation. Nowadays in the realignment campaign, we get a newish conservative claim: My special revelation authority makes me exempt from investigation, scrutiny, and the like. My real love, real… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

“The ideology of Hitler is as valid as the theology of D Bonhoeffer.”

“Of course I was not equating Hitler with Bonhoeffer!”

There you are! You did and you do. In short you are not aware of what you say.

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

[“best used as lining for the cat litter tray”??? Merseymike, you’re really not helping here.]

“I do feel sorry for the kooks and conspiracy mongers out there . . . their paranoid fantasies. Posted by George Conger”

:-0

Consider the source!

Ben W
Ben W
13 years ago

Out of context any state can be turned to mean anything … (teh old example – “Judas went and hanged himself … go thou and do likewise.”)

In context: If yo ;make not distinction between ideology (Nazizm) and real interpretation Bohhoffer) then “The ideology of Hitler is as valid as the theology of D Bonhoeffer.”

Ben W

Merseymike
Merseymike
13 years ago

Ben ; I don’t think that it is fair to compare my journey to others here. I came to the conclusion that Christianity was inherently problematic. You should also know that I was once an evangelical, and long ago came to the decision that those beliefs were harmful. I think it is very important to keep an open mind, and whilst I have very great respect for those liberals who wish to seek change – for it is certainly needed – my own thinking led me to humanism. However, I think there is absolutely no reason why other liberal Christian… Read more »

Anthony Willard
Anthony Willard
13 years ago

Ben W. is assuming a dichotomy, that there are only two sources of opinion:
1) Scrpture = the thought of God
2) All other sources of opinion (science, philosophy, theology, empirical observation, whatever) = the thought of individuals making it up as they go along.

I find this dichotomy unconvincing and unhelpful.

Tunde
Tunde
13 years ago

The news item is not new. Polygamy amongst Nigerian Anglican clergy is a myth The Church does not encourage divorce Converts with multiple wives are advised not to take any more additional wife Any members who takes an additional wife is not welcome to the Holy Communion Such are not allowed to stand for elective leadership positions in the Church and they also cannot even dream of being ordained deacons not to mention becoming Bishops. The Church’s position has not changed. Polygamists cannot be Christian role models. What happened in Nnewi was after consideration of reports that some wealthy and… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

“Fact is, real believers differ when they read these scriptures” Amen! “Realignment Conservative Set Pieces have little or nothing to do with a modern person following Jesus of Nazareth” I think this is only half right. There are two kinds of modern people, and the current crop of Consevos is one of them. They claim a literalism and objectivity for the Bible it hasn’t had before the Enlightenment. Only in response to science’s claim that many things mentioned in the Bible are “not true” did Christians respond, foolishly, that they “are true”, instead of recognising that there are factual truths… Read more »

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